What is Imaging Science?

Here is our definition

“If radiation of any kind, emitted from, or affected by an object, causes a representation – the image – of the object or some aspect of the object to be generated, then the systematized body of knowledge relating to the generation, properties and processing of the representation may be defined as Imaging Science.”

Similarly, the body of knowledge relating to the practical implementation of Imaging Science may be defined as Imaging Technology.

What’s included according to this definition?

The term ‘radiation’ also refers to other phenomena in addition to light (which is just the visible part of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, i.e. of a relatively narrow range of wavelengths). The rest of the electromagnetic spectrum can also be included in the definition. Starting at the long-wavelength end of the range there are, in order of decreasing wavelength: radio astronomy, infra-red imaging (associated with remote sensing, aerial surveys, satellite imaging, etc.), conventional silver- halide photography and its various adjuncts (photomicrography, microphotography, astronomy, holography, graphic arts, etc.) and, at the shortest wavelengths of interest, radiography (medical and industrial x-rays).

What does ‘Representation’ mean?

The term ‘representation’ is used in the definition because the idea of a picture being the image of an object is too restrictive; the more general term permits consideration of images derived from numerical data, e.g. computer generated images. So the whole gamut of digital images can be included, some examples of which are obtained without light or even a camera in the conventional sense (e.g. MRI). The terms ‘generation, properties and processing’ of images include a number of more familiar terms. Under the heading ‘generation’ might be included: display, computation, image reconstruction, etc.; under the heading ‘properties’, there is characteristic curve, tone scale, contrast, colour, image structure, stability, etc.; under the heading ‘processing’ can be included development, scanning, digitization, compression, transmission, etc.

What about other radiations?

Radiation other than electromagnetic can also be included, e.g., ultrasound (used in industrial non-destructive testing as well as in medical imaging), electrons (as in electron microscopy), and a combination of magnetic and electromagnetic fields as used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

N.B. The definition of Imaging Science on which the above is based was originally drafted by Dr Arthur Saunders and used by the Science Committee for the specification of the scope of the Society Qualifications.